Kerala, the land of artists, is a renowned exporter of a wide variety of handicrafts and small items/showpieces worldwide. Keralites have art in their blood. They emphasize on the use of vibrant colours. Their crafts are very lively and are known for intricate designs and vibrant details. This art of Kerala is simply extraordinary and serves as a source of income to these artisans, Government many other industries associated directly or indirectly with it.
This art is quite popular and there is a whole festival dedicated just to these handicrafts. Keralites are expert in carvings on metal and wood like rosewood and sandalwood, metal jewellery, granite statues, coconut shell and coir products, snake boat model and other collectibles. Their mural works and masks are also extraordinary. Apart from that, these artisans also design the musical instruments used in traditional dance forms. These instruments are completely handmade and most of them are carved out of a single piece of wood. Some of the most attractive crafts of Kerala are:
Bamboo Mat Paintings
These paintings form an important part of the major industries of the state of Kerala. The craftsmen make mats, which act as the canvas. Then they festoon them with sketches touching different themes including natural scenery, birds, animals, human as well as religious figures in vibrant colours. These mat paintings are given a finishing touch by way of beautiful bamboo reed frames both at the top and the bottom. It is indeed a mystery how the local craftsmen weave magic even with a simple thing like bamboo.
Coir and Coconut Shell Products
Abundance of Coconut trees has also contributed to the flourishing industry of coir and coconut shell products. Coir is extracted from the protective covering of the coconuts. These Coir Products include a variety of floor coverings, carpets, mats, rugs, door mats and crush proof pile carpets. The husk is drenched in the lagoons for at least ten months. Finally it is beaten, dyed and weaved to make beautiful floor coverings. A few Coconut Shell Products are cups, flower vases, snuff boxes, sugar basins, nut bowls, powder boxes and spoons. Alleppey, Kollam and Calicut are the major centres of such coir and coconut shell products.
Kerala, the significant seat of art, craft and culture, is famous for the dance form 'Kathakali', which holds a huge significance in the history and tradition of India. Kerala markets are loaded with these Kathakali Masks, available as souvenirs and show pieces. These masks are made of clay, plaster of Paris or paper-mache. The masks are painted green at the base, and decorated with beards and black hair.
Wood Inlay Products
This is an art of decorating the surface of wood by setting in pieces of materials such as ivory, plastic, bone, or wood pieces of various colors. The art first requires smoothening the base of the wood and then tracing and engraving of the design into the surface. The designs are given various shades with several coatings of polish. It is mainly done on Teakwood, Rosewood, White Cedar wood etc. The art is used in making teapots, stools, various types of trays, boxes, vases, ash trays, and photo frames.
Bell Metal Products
Visit any of the temples in Kerala and you will be overwhelmed to see the intricate design and craftsmanship of the metal work done on the pedestal or the lamps. The heavy and artfully designed bell hanging in the premises is again the result of a traditional craft form of Kerala. These bells are designed with a mixture of brass, tin and copper. The bell metal industry and bell metal products in Kerala is not a new concept. These bells, having the carvings of various gods and goddesses in different postures like tandava nritya, gaja tandava etc., are mainly produced in Trivandrum, Irinjalakuda and Kasargod.
The artisans of Kerala are expert in Horn Carving and Rosewood Carvings as well. This rich art and craft of the state is a living example of its rich history and heritage. The government of Kerala has taken a special initiative to open a craft village with some of the best specimens of the crafts of Kerala.
Kerala india vacation takes you to a detailed journey of rich Keralan art, crafts and culture. Visit the best of Kerala handicrafts during your vacations to the God's own country and appreciate the highly skilled artisans.
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